Georgian church leader calls for peace with Russia

AP News
Posted: Jul 28, 2011 10:27 AM
Georgian church leader calls for peace with Russia

The religious leader of Georgia has asked the Russian Orthodox Patriarch to reconcile the two countries that fought a brief war in 2008.

On a visit to Kiev on Thursday, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church Catholicos Ilya II asked Russian Patriarch Kirill to "restore friendship and brotherhood between our people."

The call by Ilya, who is highly respected in Georgia, appeared aimed at easing tensions with Moscow that intensified over the recent arrests and convictions of four Georgian photographers accused of spying for Russia.

Kirill vowed to pray "to restore peace between people, nations and countries."

Georgia lost control over two Kremlin-backed separatist provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia whose independence Moscow recognized following the 2008 war.